Questions & Answers
Why did you write this book?
I wrote this book because I wanted to use my years of experience as a woman in the construction industry to help women who either currently work in a male-dominated field or who aspire to enter a male-dominated field. I wanted to provide women with advice about working in a male-dominated field that I would have loved to have had when I was first starting out. I also wanted to tell other women’s stories. I feel that the best way to learn is by example, so for this book I thought it was really important that I show what other women have had to endure to succeed in male-dominated fields.
Another reason for writing the book was that I noticed that the books I had read about how to succeed as a woman working with men did not impart real-world advice. I felt that books that told readers to “think like” or “act like a man” were disingenuous and were providing advice to women that would hurt rather than help them. I wanted to tell women that they needed to succeed on their own terms, being themselves throughout their journeys, and not trying to “be” one of the guys.
Why did you choose to open a business in the construction industry?
I entered into the construction industry quite by accident. My ex-husband was a construction guy, and we opened the business together. My forte was marketing and communication, and I felt that would serve me well in any business. Little did I know that the construction business would get into my DNA, and I would grow to love it!
What do you like most about working in a male-dominated industry?
I like that men tell you exactly what they think. Most of the time you know where you stand with men in the workplace. Men will respect you if you are straight up with them and work hard. However, you don’t have to work harder than your male counterparts—just smarter.
What has been your biggest challenge working in a male-dominated industry?
My biggest challenge has been staying in control of my emotions. Women tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves as opposed to our male counterparts, who have the ability to completely hide their emotions. We cry when we are angry, frustrated, and even happy! Keeping those emotions in check is critical for maintaining credibility.
Who is a woman working in a male-dominated industry or who formerly worked in a male-dominated industry whom you admire? Why?
I really admire Hillary Clinton. She proved that she can run with the big boys in the political arena. She is sharp, competent, hard-working, and yet always manages to seem cool and collected. She has really paid her dues working with men, and I believe that in her work now as Secretary of State she is, once again, proving to be competent and capable operating in a man’s world.
If you could give a woman going into a male-dominated industry just one piece of advice, what would it be?
The best advice I could give would be to have a sense of humor. You need to be able to laugh things off, because if you are too sensitive, you will never make it.